ONCE again, Worthing Council has shown how a supposed democratic society deals with its people in agreeing a planning application that well over 75 per cent of people oppose.
Having attended the development control committee meeting to determine the outcome of the Durrington development, a particularly controversial and environmentally sensitive planning application for 700 houses, etc., I was appalled by the behaviour of four of the councillors in particular.
When the application was being presented to them by the planning officer, and when objectors to the application were given time to have their say, all four were constantly looking away disinterested, yawning, getting up to get water, sharing mints between the committee members, and generaly fidgeting. Yet when the developers got their turn to have their say all four perked up and were fully attentive, with one of the developers’ spokesmen even gaining a welcoming smile from the chairman! Predictably, these were the four (or was it three, I’ll get on to that in a minute) that voted for the application without any query or debate on the matter in hand.
The meeting ended in total farce. When the head of legal services was asked exactly what the votes were (because it was not at all clear with hands only raised to table level), he stated firstly that it was three for, two against and one abstention, then he changed it to four for, two against and one abstention, then later in the conversation he stated three for, two against and one abstention.
When challenged as to what the minutes had recorded for the vote numbers, he told us point blank that minutes are not taken – yet part of this meeting was to agree the minutes on the last development control committee meeting.
I appreciate that whether it was four or three that voted for this application, with two against, then the application would be granted permission, however, this has highlighted how badly run this council is, especially for any first public attendees to such meetings.
It is especially horrifying to see that just four people can allow such applications through. It shows just how much power these people are given when you put that X in that box to vote them in. I think the constituents in the wards of Clive Roberts, Nicky Waight, Carol Molineaux and Paul Howard would have been rightly ashamed of their councillors if they had seen them in action at this meeting, and hope they would think very hard before voting for them in the future.